DURHAM, N.C. – No. 9 Notre Dame (7-4-1, 3-2-0 ACC) suffered its first defeat away from home on Friday evening at the hands of No. 17 Duke (8-3-1, 3-2-0 ACC) in a 3-2 decision.
The Irish goals came in the first half from senior defender Patrick Berneski and senior Sean MacLeod. The match was tied at 2-2 at the break before the Blue Devils scored in the 61st minute in what proved to be the match winner.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish found themselves in unfamiliar territory early, as Duke scored the opener in the eighth minute to jump out to an early 1-0 lead. A Blue Devil played a back-heel pass in the box to Daniel Wright who narrowly beat the Notre Dame keeper with a shot inside the far post.
However, the host’s lead did not last long, as Berneski leveled in the 16th minute. Notre Dame won its first corner of the evening and made good use of it, as MacLeod played in a perfect cross that Berneski met with a thundering header that was placed into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Just eight minutes later the Irish took their first lead of the match. Thomas Ueland had a go from distance but his effort was blocked by a Duke defender. The ball fell to MacLeod, who hit a right-footed low drive past the Blue Devils keeper to give the Irish the 2-1 lead in the 24th minute.
After Notre Dame took the lead Duke stepped up the pressure in the attack, forcing Irish goalkeeper Ryan Krutz to make a few big saves.
Less than four minutes before the halftime whistle the Blue Devils pulled even at 2-2 on a controversial decision. Duke won a free kick that Matthias Frick got a piece of to have it carom off the post and trickle along the goal line. Notre Dame defender Sean Dedrick cleared the ball off the line but the referee decided that the ball went over and gave the goal to make the match even at the half.
The Blue Devils came out on the front foot in the second half, forcing Krutz to make two big saves in the first five minutes of the stanza. In the 61st minute the hosts reclaimed the lead, as Daniel Proch finished from right in front of goal to put the Blue Devils on top at 3-2.
The Irish nearly tied the match again in the 79th minute. Aiden McFadden won a free kick in the final third to set up a goal scoring opportunity. Freshman Philip Quinton got on the end of the delivery and sent a header towards the bar but the effort was tipped over by the Duke goalkeeper.
Despite pressuring the Duke backline in the final minutes the Irish were unable to find the equalizer, giving the Blue Devils a 3-2 win.
HEAD COACH CHAD RILEY’S TAKE
“Credit to Duke tonight, they came out really aggressive and put us on our heels. We gave up a goal that I hoped we would do better on but I really liked our response to the first goal. The two goals we scored were well taken and then we were a bit unfortunate on the tying goal right before the half. Duke played really well in the second half and got the goal they needed. I thought we played well but not quite good enough down the stretch. In the end, Duke is a quality team and I look forward to seeing our guys bounce back at Michigan.”
STAT OF THE MATCH
Krutz came up with some big saves to keep the match close and finished with a career-high nine saves in Durham.
NOTES OF THE MATCH
- Nine of Notre Dame’s 22 goals this season have come from set pieces.
- Berneski scored his team-best sixth goal of the season, all coming off set pieces. The senior’s six goals are the most of any ACC defender this season.
- With a goal and assist, MacLeod posted a career-high three points in the match.
- MacLeod scored his third goal of the season and career and has now found the back of the net in three straight matches.
The Irish are back in action in a non-conference match at No. 16 Michigan at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 16. The match will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.